On two occasions Friday night in the Hawk Bowl at Norwood’s Xaverian Brother High School, Everett High faced two critical fourth downs – one early in the game and one late – and it was the sheer will of senior Mike Sainristil that seemed to make the impossible quite attainable.
The Crimson Tide won the Super Bowl rematch 34-21 in a tough road contest that was pretty much decided for Everett at the end of the first half.
In the first quarter, when the game was tied 0-0, and later in the third quarter, when the Hawks mounted a small comeback at 26-20, the versatile Sainristil became the team’s punter and through sheer will gained first downs on fourth and long situations.
In the third quarter, with Xaverian beginning to wake up from its slumber – and the large fanbase starting to make noise, Sainristil lined up to punt on fourth and 11.
Then the team shifted.
Several receivers flanked to the right side.
Sainristil moved up.
He took the snap, moved right, and then turned on the jets to weave and wind his way through Xaverian defenders for a 16-yard gain. Soon after, newcomer Isaac Seide broke off a 44-yard touchdown run up the gut to seal the game once and for all, 34-21.
Sainristil finished the game with eight receptions for 108 yards and two TDs, but those stats didn’t measure the intangibles and key plays he made in situations like the fake punt.
Accompanying Sainristil’s senior leadership was fellow senior Robbie Riobe, who was key as a receiver and at defending the pass. He also had an interception early in the second half at midfield
Both kept the team, under first-year coach Theluxon Pierre, calm in a very challenging road environment.
Right off the bat, newcomer Seide showed he had come back to Everett to play.
Seide finished the night with 14 carries for 165 yards and three TDs – that in his Crimson Tide debut.
His most important contribution, however, came as the clock was ticking down on the first half and he turned the left corner on the Xaverian defense and hit the afterburners for a 59-yard touchdown.
As he crossed the line, the clock read 59 seconds.
The Xaverian team and crowd, which had been very much in the game before the run, never really recovered their swagger.
Quarterback Duke Doherty, a sophomore, showed great poise in the pocket and delivered two winners to Sainristil, one for a 50-yard touchdown pass. Another came on a nifty slant route up the middle that caught Xaverian off-guard.
Not to be missed was senior Jaden Mahabir, who set the tone early on a 60-yard scamper down the sideline to the Everett 20 yard line. That came one play after he had tripped in the backfield.
Next play: he hit the jets for the big gain.
The Everett line, anchored by Wilson Frederic and Gilbert Kabamba, held Xaverian out of the backfield almost all game.
However, all was not well in Tide land.
The Crimson Tide were flagged by the referees 13 times in the game, and 10 of those came in the first half alone.
Some were for false starts, unsportsmanlike conduct, face-masking and other offenses. It was unusual of an Everett team, and many took note.
Two particularly noticeable penalties came at the end of the half when Chonlee Cine and Tyrese Baptiste were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on two separate occasions only seconds apart.
Both were penalized for celebrating after major hits on Xaverian players that resulted in losses in yardage.
- The Everett Crimson Tide seemingly has had one of the Cine family members on the roster for a decade. However, one key Cine has split the scene this year and re-emerged in Texas playing for former NFL star Deion Sanders at Trinity Christian Academy in Dallas. On Friday night, while the Crimson Tide battled Xaverian, Cine was playing at Trinity against Florida A&M – a game broadcast on ESPN. Cine, who played for Everett last year, is considered one of the most highly prized recruits in the nation out of Trinity. He’s considering schools such as Georgia, Michigan and Alabama – among many others. Cine had a great game in his debut at Trinity.
- Senior Declan Smith has emerged as a good pass rusher. The senior has been known as an offensive lineman, but on Friday showed some dexterity in rushing the quarterback. He had a nice blindside sack in the third quarter.
- Last year’s tough tight end Jalen Iles-Smith has now found a home on the offensive and defensive line. The 6’4” 250-pound lineman was part of a line that gave great pass protection Friday and plowed some big holes for the runners.
- Former Crimson Tide Coach Carlos Ruiz has been part of the Texas migration from Everett. Coach Ruiz is now at Liberty Christian in Texas this year. He is their new defensive coordinator.
- A lot of scouts had their eyes on the game last Friday, but a few from Bridgton Academy made themselves unwelcome. The group toted video cameras, still cameras and a number of other devices behind the bench and were asked to leave mid-game.